even if B-tl-r had to leave, I thought he was going to say, but I changed the subject. During our entire garden interview (operatically speaking, the garden-scene), the President was not smoking. I do not know how the impression arose that he "uses tobacco in any form;" for I have seen him several times, and he was not smoking. Indeed, I offered him a Connecticut six; but he wittily said that he did not like a weed in a garden,--a remark which I took to have a personal political bearing, and changed the subject. The President was a good deal surprised at the method and fine appearance of my garden, and to learn that I had the sole care of it. He asked me if I pursued an original course, or whether I got my ideas from writers on the subject. I told him that I had had no time to read anything on the subject since I began to hoe, except "Lothair," from which I got my ideas of landscape gardening; and that I had worked the garden entirely according to my own notions, except that I had borne in mind his injunction, "to fight it out on this line if"--The President stopped me abruptly, and said it was unnecessary to repeat that remark: he thought he had heard it before. Indeed, he deeply regretted that he had ever made it. Sometimes, he said, after hearing it in speeches, and coming across it in resolutions, and reading it in newspapers, and having it dropped jocularly by facetious politicians, who were boring him for an office, about twenty-five times a day, say for a month, it would get to running through his head, like the "shoo-fly" song which B-tl-r sings in the House, until it did seem as if he should go distracted. He said, no man could stand that kind of sentence hammering on his brain for years. The President was so much pleased with my management of the garden, that he offered me (at least, I so understood him) the position of head gardener at the White House, to have care of the exotics. I told him that I thanked him, but that I did not desire any foreign appointment. I had resolved, when the administration came in, not to take an appointment; and I had kept my resolution. As to any home office, I was poor, but honest; and, of course, it would be useless for me to take one. The President mused a moment, and then smiled, and said he would see what could be done for me. I did not change the subject; but nothing further was said by General Gr-nt. The President is a great talker (contrary to the general impression); but I think he appreciated his quiet hour in my garden. He said it carried him back to his youth farther than anything he had seen lately. He looked forward with delight to the time when he could again have his private garden, grow his own lettuce and tomatoes, and not have to get so much "sarce" from Congress. The chair in which the President sat, while declining to take a glass of lager I have had destroyed, in order that no one may sit in it. It was the only way to save it, if I may so speak. It would have been impossible to keep it from use by any precautions. There are people who would have sat in it, if the seat had been set with iron spikes. Such is the adoration of Station. NINTH WEEK I am more and more impressed with the moral qualities of vegetables, and contemplate forming a science which shall rank with comparative anatomy and comparative philology,--the science of comparative vegetable morality. We live in an age of protoplasm. And, if life-matter is essentially the same in all forms of life, I purpose to begin early, and ascertain the nature of the plants for which I am responsible. I will not associate with any vegetable which is disreputable, or has not some quality that can contribute to my moral growth. I do not care to be seen much with the squashes or the dead- beets. Fortunately I can cut down any sorts I do not like with the hoe, and, probably, commit no more sin in so doing than the Christians did in hewing down the Jews in the Middle Ages. This matter of vegetable rank has not been at all studied as it should be. Why do we respect some vegetables and despise others, when all of them come to an equal honor or ignominy on the table? The bean is a graceful, confiding, engaging vine; but you never can put beans into poetry, nor into the highest sort of prose. There is no dignity in the bean. Corn, which, in my garden, grows alongside the bean, and, so far as I can see, with no affectation of superiority, is, however, the child of song. It waves in all literature. But mix it with beans, and its high tone is gone. Succotash is vulgar. It is the bean in it. The bean is a vulgar vegetable, without culture, or any flavor of high society among vegetables. Then there is the cool cucumber, like so many people, good for nothing when it is ripe and the wildness has gone out of it. How inferior in quality it is to the melon, which grows upon a similar vine, is of a like watery consistency, but is not half so valuable! The cucumber is a sort of low comedian in a company where the melon is a minor gentleman. I might also contrast the celery with the potato. The associations are as opposite as the dining-room of the duchess and the cabin of the peasant. I admire the potato, both in vine and blossom; but it is not aristocratic. I began digging my potatoes, by the way, about the 4th of July; and I fancy I have discovered the right way to do it. I treat the potato just as I would a cow. I do not pull them up, and shake them out, and destroy them; but I dig carefully at the side of the hill, remove the fruit which is grown, leaving the vine undisturbed: and my theory is, that it will go on bearing, and submitting to my exactions, until the frost cuts it down. It is a game that one would not undertake with a vegetable of tone. The lettuce is to me a most interesting study. Lettuce is like conversation: it must be fresh and crisp, so sparkling that you scarcely notice the bitter in it. Lettuce, like most talkers, is, however, apt to run rapidly to seed. Blessed is that sort which comes to a head, and so remains, like a few people I know; growing more solid and satisfactory and tender at the same time, and whiter at the center, and crisp in their maturity. Lettuce, like conver- sation, requires a good deal of oil to avoid friction, and keep the company smooth; a pinch of attic salt; a dash of pepper; a quantity of mustard and vinegar, by all means, but so mixed that you will notice no sharp contrasts; and a trifle of sugar. You can put anything, and the more things the better, into salad, as into a conversation; but everything depends upon the skill of mixing. I feel that I am in the best society when I am with lettuce. It is in the select circle of vegetables. The tomato appears well on the table; but you do not want to ask its origin. It is a most agreeable parvenu. Of course, I have said nothing about the berries. They live in another and more ideal region; except, perhaps, the currant. Here we see, that, even among berries, there are degrees of breeding. The currant is well enough, clear as truth, and exquisite in color; but I ask you to notice how far it is from the exclusive hauteur of the aristocratic strawberry, and the native refinement of the quietly elegant raspberry. I do not know that chemistry, searching for protoplasm, is able to discover the tendency of vegetables. It can only be found out by outward observation. I confess that I am suspicious of the bean, for instance. There are signs in it of an unregulated life. I put up the most attractive sort of poles for my Limas. They stand high and straight, like church-spires, in my theological garden,--lifted up; and some of them have even budded, like Aaron's rod. No church- steeple in a New England village was ever better fitted to draw to it the rising generation on Sunday, than those poles to lift up my beans towards heaven. Some of them did run up the sticks seven feet, and then straggled off into the air in a wanton manner; but more than half of them went gallivanting off to the neighboring grape-trellis, and wound their tendrils with the tendrils of the grape, with a disregard of the proprieties of life which is a satire upon human nature. And the grape is morally no better. I think the ancients, who were not troubled with the recondite mystery of protoplasm, were right in the mythic union of Bacchus and Venus. Talk about the Darwinian theory of development, and the principle of natural selection! I should like to see a garden let to run in accordance with it. If I had left my vegetables and weeds to a free fight, in which the strongest specimens only should come to maturity, and the weaker go to the wall, I can clearly see that I should have had a pretty mess of it. It would have been a scene of passion and license and brutality. The "pusley" would have strangled the strawberry; the upright corn, which has now ears to hear the guilty beating of the hearts of the children who steal the raspberries, would have been dragged to the earth by the wandering bean; the snake-grass would have left no place for the potatoes under ground; and the tomatoes would have been swamped by the lusty weeds. With a firm hand, I have had to make my own "natural selection." Nothing will so well bear watching as a garden, except a family of children next door. Their power of selection beats mine. If they could read half as well as they can steal awhile away, I should put up a notice, "Children, beware! There is Protoplasm here." But I suppose it would have no effect. I believe they would eat protoplasm as quick as anything else, ripe or green. I wonder if this is going to be a cholera-year. Considerable cholera is the only thing that would let my apples and pears ripen. Of course I do not care for the fruit; but I do not want to take the responsibility of letting so much "life-matter," full of crude and even wicked vegetable-human tendencies, pass into the composition of the neighbors' children, some of whom may be as immortal as snake-grass. There ought to be a public meeting about this, and resolutions, and perhaps a clambake. At least, it ought to be put into the catechism, and put in strong. TENTH WEEK I think I have discovered the way to keep peas from the birds. I tried the scarecrow plan, in a way which I thought would outwit the shrewdest bird. The brain of the bird is not large; but it is all concentrated on one object, and that is the attempt to elude the devices of modern civilization which injure his chances of food. I knew that, if I put up a complete stuffed man, the bird would detect the imitation at once: the perfection of the thing would show him that it was a trick. People always overdo the matter when they attempt deception. I therefore hung some loose garments, of a bright color, upon a rake-head, and set them up among the vines. The supposition was, that the bird would think there was an effort to trap him, that there was a man behind, holding up these garments, and would sing, as he kept at a distance, "You can't catch me with any such double device." The bird would know, or think he knew, that I would not hang up such a scare, in the expectation that it would pass for a man, and deceive a bird; and he would therefore look for a deeper plot. I expected to outwit the bird by a duplicity that was simplicity itself I may have over-calculated the sagacity and reasoning power of the bird. At any rate, I did over-calculate the amount of peas I should gather. But my game was only half played. In another part of the garden were other peas, growing and blowing. To-these I took good care not to attract the attention of the bird by any scarecrow whatever! I left the old scarecrow conspicuously flaunting above the old vines; and by this means I hope to keep the attention of the birds confined to that side of the garden. I am convinced that this is the true use of a scarecrow: it is a lure, and not a warning. If you wish to save men from any particular vice, set up a tremendous cry of warning about some other; and they will all give their special efforts to the one to which attention is called. This profound truth is about the only thing I have yet realized out of my pea-vines. However, the garden does begin to yield. I know of nothing that makes one feel more complacent, in these July days, than to have his vegetables from his own garden. What an effect it has on the market-man and the butcher! It is a kind of declaration of independence. The market-man shows me his peas and beets and tomatoes, and supposes he shall send me out some with the meat. "No, I thank you," I say carelessly; "I am raising my own this year." Whereas I have been wont to remark, "Your vegetables look a little wilted this weather," I now say, "What a fine lot of vegetables you've got!" When a man is not going to buy, he can afford to be generous. To raise his own vegetables makes a person feel, somehow, more liberal. I think the butcher is touched by the influence, and cuts off a better roast for me, The butcher is my friend when he sees that I am not wholly dependent on him. It is at home, however, that the effect is most marked, though sometimes in a way that I had not expected. I have never read of any Roman supper that seemed to me equal to a dinner of my own vegetables; when everything on the table is the product of my own labor, except the clams, which I have not been able to raise yet, and the chickens, which have withdrawn from the garden just when they were most attractive. It is strange what a taste you suddenly have for things you never liked before. The squash has always been to me a dish of contempt; but I eat it now as if it were my best friend. I never cared for the beet or the bean; but I fancy now that I could eat them all, tops and all, so completely have they been transformed by the soil in which they grew. I think the squash is less squashy, and the beet has a deeper hue of rose, for my care of them. I had begun to nurse a good deal of pride in presiding over a table whereon was the fruit of my honest industry. But woman!--John Stuart Mill is right when he says that we do not know anything about women. Six thousand years is as one day with them. I thought I had something to do with those vegetables. But when I saw Polly seated at her side of the table, presiding over the new and susceptible vegetables, flanked by the squash and the beans, and smiling upon the green corn and the new potatoes, as cool as the cucumbers which lay sliced in ice before her, and when she began to dispense the fresh dishes, I saw at once that the day of my destiny was over. You would have thought that she owned all the vegetables, and had raised them all from their earliest years. Such quiet, vegetable airs! Such gracious appropriation! At length I said,-- "Polly, do you know who planted that squash, or those squashes?" "James, I suppose." "Well, yes, perhaps James did plant them, to a certain extent. But who hoed them?" "We did." "We did!" I said, in the most sarcastic manner.
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